LEGO Mindstorm: How to Build a Tank

Written by laura gittins
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LEGO Mindstorm: How to Build a Tank
(Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

With Lego Mindstorms, you can create an infinite number of projects, including robots, pets, games and vehicles. An easy starter project for a novice Mindstorms user is a tank. You can make a simple tank using two servo motors and tank treads built around the NXT brick which doubles as the body of the vehicle. Once you become comfortable with how this simple project works, you can add additional parts to it and create larger and better tanks that can handle bigger jobs.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Slide an axle through the orange x-shaped slot in the servo motor. Attach a wheel bushing to one end of the axle. Slide another axle into a slot at the other end of the motor and fit a bushing on end of it; on the same side as the other bushing. Fit a tank tread over the two bushings to create tank wheels. Do the same to a second servo motor, but mirrored so the tank wheel will be on the opposite side.

  2. 2

    Attach the two servo motors to the NXT brick, securing them using axles and beams with the black connector pieces. Connect two small connector cables from the two servo motors into slots "B" and "C" on the NXT brick.

  3. 3

    Add additional Lego pieces to make the tank larger. Make sure you do not add too much weight or the tank will not move. Also, make sure you do not build too much on top of the NXT brick's screen so you can access it to runt the program after you download it.

  4. 4

    Open the Lego Mindstorms software on your computer and create a new project.

  5. 5

    Add a "Loop" control to the front of the chain. Place it in the box that says "Start" and it will automatically connect.

  6. 6

    Add a "Move" control as the first element in the loop. Change the "Duration" property to five seconds. Connect another "Move" control to the end of the first one. Move the slider on the "Steering" property all the way to the left and then change the "Duration" property to 180 degrees. When your program runs, your tank will continuously drive forward for five seconds and then turn around and repeat this as if it were on a patrol.

  7. 7

    Connect the NXT brick to the computer using the Mindstorms USB cord. Click "Download" on the screen to transfer your program to your robot. Disconnect the tank from the USB cord.

  8. 8

    Put the tank on the ground and press the "Power" button. Press the "Play" button to start the program.

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